Last week I posted about pre-e and mentioned that Dex was a premature baby. Honestly, it was one of the most stressful times of my life. Since then, I have bonded with other moms of premature babies, and also found support through the March of Dimes. We try to join in their annual March for Babies, but sometimes it conflicts with my birthday (this Sunday) and any corresponding plans. Yup. As it does this year.
It’s amazing to think these are the first photos we have of Dex. The first memories of motherhood I have are of the NICU and tubes and lights and stress. But without this amazing medical intervention, my son would not be here. I had a placental abruption, which could not have been predicted – and they still have no idea why it happened.
But as I have talked about, there are many causes for premature birth, making prenatal care very important. In fact, every year, more than half a million babies are born too soon… 8,000 of them in Colorado. Here are things you can expect during visits, hopefully making them not so scary when the times comes:
At each prenatal care visit, your doctor will:
• Check your weight, blood pressure, hands, feet and face for swelling.
• Measure your belly to see how the baby is growing.
• Listen for the baby’s heartbeat after the 12th week of pregnancy.
• Feel your abdomen to assess the baby’s position.
• Do any tests that are needed, including blood tests or an ultrasound, which uses sound waves to show a picture of your baby on a screen.
Prenatal visits also give you a good opportunity to talk with your doctor and share any questions or concerns. Because so much is going on in your life right now, it might be a good idea to write down your thoughts and bring the list with you so you don’t forget.
Here is a suggested schedule for prenatal visits:
- Weeks four to 28: one visit per month (every four weeks)
- Weeks 28 to 36: two visits per month (every two to three weeks)
- Weeks 36 to birth: one visit per week
If you have an ongoing medical condition, or have been told you have a “high-risk” pregnancy, you may have to see your doctor more often.
Not so bad right?
We were very lucky. Dex grew out of his prematurity around age two. He has some cold-induced asthma and allergies that kick up sometimes, but in general, he is a very healthy 11 year old. Our only real lasting trauma from the NICU was getting him to kick the habit of sucking on the ear (then ears, when we bought more) of that blue puppy his Oma sent him at the very beginning.
I wish we could be with all the other families this weekend in City Park, but everyone is welcome – premature kid or not. And this year, there is a new event called “Run For Babies” that is a chip-timed and measured 5K. Check it out, and I will be there in spirit!
Register here for March For Babies in Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Pueblo.
Denver March for Babies
Sponsored by Cigna
Date: Saturday, April 26, 2014
Registration Time: 9:00AM
1700 N. York St.
Denver, CO 80206
Stats are from: The most exciting, scary, rewarding, messy, eye-opening year of your life. The Cigna guide to having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. ©2012 Cigna.